Rwanda Maternity Hospital and Clinic
Delivering a Promise of Dignity
Everyone at the Mahama Refugee Camp has a story. Men, women and children travel many miles to seek refuge there. The journey is especially difficult for pregnant women, many of whom arrive with nothing but their children and the clothes on their backs. The camp, which is in the Eastern Province of Rwanda near the border with Tanzania, was in desperate need of a new maternity hospital.
Working with Alight, the Minneapolis-based nonprofit, RSP designed a facility that not only provides mothers a place to deliver their babies with dignity, but also improves the quality of life for families throughout the camp.
Before the new hospital was built, women gave birth in tents or in a wooden shack with little privacy. There were no bassinets, no recovery rooms, and no private delivery rooms. In some cases, women shared beds pre- and post-delivery, and sanitary conditions were virtually non-existent. RSP worked closely with the community to create a facility that offered a safe, clean place for women to give birth.
The new 8,000-SF maternity hospital is built from locally sourced materials, including handmade bricks, wood and tile, blending in with surrounding buildings and connecting visually with the rest of the camp. The use of local materials not only reduces costs, but also bolsters the local economy and advances a neighborhood eco-system that strengthens the community. The new hospital also provides amenities and services, new beds, restrooms, shower facilities, surgical procedures, post-partum care, counseling and more.
Along with seamlessly blending into its context, the design includes functional vertical brise soleils (sun screens) and sloped roofs to prevent water damage. Outside the hospital, green space and gardens provide hints of color and respite, with seating areas and shade for waiting family members. Wherever they come from, whatever stories they bring along, and however long they stay, the new mothers of Mahama now have a safe, reliable source for health and maternity care.